There is seldom a valid reason for performing full body thermal imaging. Full body imaging does not provide information regarding general state-of-health, nor can it be used to reasonably evaluate internal organ function. There is simply insufficient research to support thermography for this purpose. There are far better tests that are far more reliable (such as MRI, ultrasound, or blood testing) to evaluate internal organ function. Although there has been anecdotal thermal changes with advanced liver disease for example, it was advanced, meaning it would have been demonstrated long before with conventional diagnostic tests.
There is more research regarding the use of thermography for symptoms such as numbness and tingling in the extremities. However, a person with these symptoms is already aware that there is a problem and tests should be performed to properly diagnose the problem. These tests would normally consist of an MRI to determine whether a disc or some other structure is compressing a nerve. Thermography, although it may show that there is a problem, cannot adequately make the diagnosis.
Unlike the aforementioned scenarios, breast thermography has an abundance of research to support its use. Additionally, the only breast cancer screening test that is available is mammography, and it has been shown to contribute to the development of breast cancer. The release of the new mammography screening guidelines has also left women under the age of fifty without a screening test. Thermography can provide safe, effective cancer screening for this group of women.
Thermography centers that routinely perform full body imaging should be considered suspect, and asked to provide research supporting its use in this fashion.
**There is one exception to this rule. In the case of Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), a diagnostic test to objectify this uncommon condition is lacking, and thermography is very good at demonstrating its existence.
Dr. Nicholas LeRoy, DC, MS